Oak Harbor schools earns top honor

Oak Harbor Public Schools added another achievement to its growing list of accolades Thursday.

The Northwest Clean Air Agency’s Partners for Clean Air program awarded the district this year’s platinum award, which is the agency’s top honor for an organization’s work to improve air quality.

“Oak Harbor schools are reducing air emissions, protecting the health of kids and the community, and saving public money. The amount of work they have done, and continue doing, is commendable,” said Mark Buford, Northwest Clean Air Agency executive director. “It’s a great pleasure to recognize their environmental stewardship with our Platinum award.”

To earn this award, Oak Harbor Public Schools has installed emissions-reducing boilers in its schools, employed energy-saving lighting, and increased its number of propane-fueled buses, to name a few.

Brian Hunt, Oak Harbor Public Schools facilities and maintenance director, said in a press release that the district has simply taken advantage of new technology that has increased efficiency and decreased air emissions, while saving the public’s money.

The three levels of the Partners for Clean Air awards are silver, gold and platinum. The Northwest Clean Air Agency has awarded these honors annually to businesses in Island, Skagit and Whatcom counties since 2010. Out of the 35 other award recipients, Oak Harbor Public Schools won the day.

At a school board meeting on March 13, Steve King, associate superintendent for Oak Harbor Public Schools said the platinum award was “rare” and a recognition of the district’s hard work.

“It’s a pretty great award and kind of adds to the growing list of great accomplishments we get to keep talking about,” King said.

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